10 Reasons to Meet in CLE
10 Reasons to Meet in CLE
By Keith Gribbins
If you haven't been to or planned a meeting in Cleveland before (or even in the last few years), please allow us to introduce ourselves. We have the perfect mix of fun and function, we know how to roll up our sleeves and make things happen, and we've got a plethora of industries, Fortune 500 HQs and startups that create a dynamic and exciting environment. What's that all look like? If we had to boil it down to just 10 reasons you should have your meeting here, this is what they'd be.
1. WORLD-CLASS EXPERIENCES WITHOUT THE WORLD-CLASS EGO
Downtown Cleveland has everything a meeting needs to succeed — affordable hotels, posh event spaces, famous restaurants, national attractions, and an everyone’s-welcome attitude. How do we know? The experts have spoken: Cleveland was ranked No. 4 on the “12 Cities on the Rise” list, singled out by more than 800 meeting planners in the most recent Watkins Report. Speaking of lists, Cleveland’s famed Cleveland Museum of Art was named the Second Best Museum in America by Business Insider magazine.
2. HOTELS ARE EVERYWHERE
Greater Cleveland as a whole has nearly 24,000 guestrooms across all major hotel brands, representing segments from luxury resorts to boutique business accommodations. Downtown Cleveland now offers 5,000 guestrooms in 18 hotels. Add in the flexible meeting spaces and unique dining spots, and these hotels become destinations in themselves. Meeting spaces from 10,000 to 90,000 square feet can range from traditional boardroom seating to AV- and tech-enabled theaters, auditoriums, and ballrooms.
3. NEW DOWNTOWN CONVENTION COMPLEX
The high-tech, eco-engineered Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland hosts world-class confabs, meetings, and festivals and connects to a 600-room Hilton Cleveland Downtown hotel. The Downtown convention complex is within walking distance or cab ride of 18 hotels, entertainment districts like East 4th St., sports venues like Quicken Loans Arena, and lakefront attractions like the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
4. MEMORABLE VENUES, MEMORABLE MEETINGS
Cleveland is full of dynamic gathering spots that can empower your meeting with a motif. Classy galas or weddings would be perfect for the Cleveland Museum of Art. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has multiple rental options, including the entire museum. The country’s second-largest performing arts center, Playhouse Square, offers nine theaters of various sizes and one outdoor event space for rental. From FirstEnergy Stadium, home of the Cleveland Browns, to House of Blues Cleveland, this city has great venues that offer unforgettable experiences.
5. GETTING HERE IS EASY
Cleveland sits within a 500-mile radius of nearly half of the U.S. population — only six hours from cities like Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia. Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) is 12 miles from Downtown and offers an abundance of nonstop flights around the country and internationally via most major carriers. Getting here is cheap, too. CLE offers many low cost flights, ranking 18 on the most recent Airport Affordability Report by Cheapflights.com due to new low-cost carriers and increased competition. We are also easily accessible by AMTRAK train, or bus, with both Greyhound and Megabus terminals close to major hotels.
6. GETTING AROUND TOWN IS EASIER
The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) links busy travelers to timely destinations. Four RTA rail lines snake all over the city and to the airport, connecting with nearly 60 different bus routes. For just $5, visitors can snag a one-day Cleveland Pass that allows for unlimited rides. The slick, modern HealthLine Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) secured an Excellence in Engineering award, connecting Downtown hotspots to hospitals and restaurants. Once Downtown, take advantage of the city’s RTA trolley network — it’s free with a smile.
7. OF COURSE, MOST FOLKS JUST WALK
Cleveland has one of the most pedestrian-friendly downtowns in America. Just ask the experts. Cleveland is the 17th most walkable large city in the United States according to the Internet site Walk Score. PCMA’s Convene magazine ranked the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland No. 4 on the list for “Top 15 Convention Centers in Highly Walkable Places.” Strollers can also take solace in the more than 70 Downtown Cleveland Alliance ambassadors that keep Cleveland streets safe and clean, patrolling on foot and bike and acting as mobile concierges.
8. PLENTY OF FOOD AND FUN
From business luncheons to wedding banquets, Northeast Ohio is full of excellent bistros, clubs, cantinas, and eateries that specialize in large parties and flavorful food. Food Network-famous chefs like Michael Symon, celebrated restaurants like The Greenhouse Tavern, and popular food trucks like the Touch Supper Truck all call Cleveland home. The West Side Market and Great Lakes Brewing Co. are cornerstones in Cleveland’s culinary and craft beer movement, while the JACK Cleveland Casino, Downtown clubs, and indie music venues provide a 24/7 nightlife.
9. THE LAND OF CHAMPIONS
Cleveland takes its sports oh so seriously. Professional venues (which are rentable) like Progressive Field, FirstEnergy Stadium, and Quicken Loans Arena are home to venerable franchises like the 2017 A.L. Central Division Champ Cleveland Indians, 2016 NBA Champion Cavaliers, Browns, Gladiators, and Monsters. Progressive Field recently underwent a $26-million facelift featuring a new home plate club for season ticket-holders and more CLE-centric concessions, and FirstEnergy Stadium recently finished a two-year, $125-million modernization project focused on enhancing the fan experience with slick stadium and concourse redesigns. And Quicken Loans Arena is beginning a $140 million renovation that will add a new glass façade, public gathering space and dining areas.
10. GREAT LAKES ADVENTURES
Summer or winter, Lake Erie provides some of the best opportunities for aquatic entertainment in the United States. Commission a group adventure with BrewBoat CLE at Channel Park Marina on Whiskey Island, swim the waters of Headlands Beach State Park, or get all wet steelhead fishing in tributaries like Vermilion River, Rocky River, and Conneaut Creek. Even Downtown, behind the Rock Hall, Rock and Dock at North Coast Harbor Marina is a 53-slip transient marina, which provides jet skis, kayaks, paddleboats and boards, and boat slips for rent.